If optimizing your website is spring cleaning (see part 1 for that), improving your digital presence is gardening. You need to carefully weed the comments, plant seeds for customer reviews, and add lots of water, sunlight, and fertilizer to your strategy to make it yield sweet, sweet new business. Like a beautiful garden all you need is a little time, effort, and a solid game plan to turn those seeds into leads.
But what does this mean in less flowery terms? Well simply put, you need to stay in control of your external referral sources. This means Google, social media platforms, yelp, BBB, or literally anywhere people can search for (or write stuff about) your brand that doesn’t live in the safe confines of a website you control. Referrals to your business and website come from all over the place. To help enable success you should be optimizing those sources wherever possible.
If you’re a savvy small business owner, marketer at a small or mid-sized organization, or just a curious marketing nerd, this blog is for you. Let’s break out the hose, dust off those social accounts and get to it!
Auditing Your Brand’s Web Presence
Do you know who Googles your business? Almost everyone who interacts with it. Prospects, potential employees, current customers, and your competition. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you’re making the most of your online presence and maintain it carefully. But how?
Here are the places (and ways) to optimize your online brand presence:
Updating social media platforms
There are so many social media platforms beyond just Facebook like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Houzz, Pinterest, and YouTube. Luckily, there are a few common things for each that you should keep in mind. Here’s what you should have up-to-date on these channels:
- A current profile photo and properly scaled company logo.
- A banner (or background) photo that is clean, professional, and speaks to your brand.
- An accurate bio of your business. This should include a little bit about the organization, some of the services offered, and whatever else is relevant to the platform. One of the things to keep in mind here is the length. Don’t feel compelled to write a novella, just cover the basics and have a link to your website for more info.
- Contact information including a website address, business address (if applicable), phone number, and email.
- Set clear expectations for responses in your bio. Many social platforms have the ability for users to direct message accounts so it would be helpful for you to add a note saying if and how often the messages are checked. If not at all, or infrequently, add where would be the best place to contact the business. For instance, “This profile is not monitored daily. If you have an immediate question or concern please reach out to us at [email protected] or at 403.111.1111”
Be sure to keep a regular, watchful eye on your comments, reviews, and messages and respond accordingly. If this seems like a lot of work, consider looking into a social monitoring platform like HootSuite which will keep track of all accounts in one place.
Looking to create a strategy and calendar for your business but not sure where to start? Check out our Ultimate B2B Social Media Guide!
Making the most of your Google My Business profile
Search engines are constantly looking for ways to provide the most relevant information to searchers. This is where your Google My Business listing comes in to play. Google wants to make sure that when people search for a business, the individual can find all the information they may need. As the business owner you have access to edit (most) this information so take advantage! Update it to best serve you. Here’s how you can make the most of your Google business listing:
- Keep the contact information up to date including your address, phone number, email address, service hours, social platforms, and a short bio.
- You can include product and service information to assist those relying on Google for deeper insights into a company’s wares.
- Regularly monitor your reviews and respond; either thanking the person for their review, or to show responsiveness to negative reviews by posting an authentic company response.
- Local businesses should pay particular attention to the location information that appears with your Google Map entry. Ensure that address, contact details, and business photos appear as you intended them too.
Put some time into getting local citations
Ok, let’s start off with what the heck a citation even is. Trusted SEO software Moz says it best,
“a local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business. Citations can occur on local business directories, on websites and apps, and on social platforms. Citations help Internet users to discover local businesses and can also impact local search engine rankings.”
When it comes to finding places to get these citations, typically you can break them down into two categories: general directories and specific. The general ones include Yelp, Apple Maps, Facebook, the Better Business Bureau, etc. The specific one’s breakdown into two categories: industry or geographic location. For instance, the Calgary Business Directory would be a geographically specified citation. G2Crowd would be specific to the software industry.
Establishing listings on these sites can be a bit of a pain upfront but will be worth it in long term traffic gains. Set aside a few hours in your calendar one day to make a list of citation sources most relevant to you (the higher they list on Google, the better). Aim to create 5-10 listings to help boost your SEO credibility.
As a final note, make sure to set a reminder in your calendar to check in on these external sources yearly and update as needed. It would be a shame to provide incorrect information to potential customers.
These tips can help to improve SEO, brand awareness, and even more exciting, create whole new channels to generate leads for your business. Who doesn’t like new business?
That being said, I understand this isn’t exactly the most exciting work for many business owners. If reading this list has filled you with anxiety, reach out to us! We’re happy to discuss how we can help you update your website to make it support your business more effectively.
If you missed it, be sure to check out part 1 where we discussed how to update your website and subscribe to our blog for part 3 where we show you how to optimize your existing content.